Odessa Premises Liability Lawyer
Odessa Premises Liability Lawyer
When you visit a public, commercial or private place, you expect to be safe. Texas laws dictate that property owners must keep their visitors safe from hazards and dangerous conditions. If a property owner does not take precautions and the visitor suffers injuries, the visitor can hold the property owner liable for damages. In some cases, a lessee could share liability for damages.
The area of law that protects visitors is premises liability. However, some property owners are not responsible for injuries on their land. Texas premises liability law is complex; thus, we recommend you retain an Odessa premises liability lawyer if you suffer injuries on someone’s property. Contact a premises liability attorney at Hanna Personal Injury Law at (432) 220-2649 for a free case evaluation if you suffered injuries because of a property owner’s negligence.
HOW PREMISES LIABILITY LAWYERS IN ODESSA CAN HELP
Our premises injury lawyers are here to protect your rights, whether your accident was in a friend’s house, grocery store, apartment building, park, stadium, or any other location. As with other types of personal injury cases, one or more people could share responsibility for injuries you sustained on their property. Businesses have liability policies to cover them. If the injuries happened on private property, you could recover damages via the homeowner’s policy.
Once you retain us to help you with a premises liability case, we start investigating your case. The sooner you can retain one of our premises liability lawyers in Odessa, the sooner we can start an investigation. Evidence tends to disappear, whether because weather erodes it or a defendant destroys it, so we recommend getting an experienced premises liability attorney on board quickly.
We’ll take photos of the accident scene, speak to witnesses and take other steps to determine whether the property owner was negligent, grossly negligent, or intentional in the actions or inactions that caused your injuries.
As we get into the case, we consult expert witnesses, depose property owners, locate video footage, and speak to the police officer who was on the scene, if any.
PROVING PREMISES LIABILITY CASES
The status of an injured person makes a difference as to what duty the landowner owes to the visitor. Texas law describes visitors in several categories:
- Invitee: A person you invited to your property, whether by implied or express invitation. Property owners must repair or provide warnings of hazardous or dangerous conditions that they have not repaired.
- Licensee: A person who is on the property for his or her personal business. A property owner could be liable if he or she was aware of a dangerous or hazardous condition and did not repair it.
- Trespasser: Someone who did not have permission to be on the property.
Premises liability has four elements. It depends on whether you are an invitee, licensee or a trespasser as to the degree of duty you must prove. The four elements of a premises liability claim are:
- Ownership: The defendant owns, leases, or occupies the property where you suffered injuries.
- Duty of care: The defendant owes you a duty of care if you are an invitee or licensee. Because a trespasser does not have legal permission to be on the property, the property owner does not owe the trespasser a duty of care.
- Breach of duty of care: If the property owner (defendant) does not maintain the property, including repairing known hazards or warning invitees and licensees, the property owner breached the duty of care.
- Causation: The breach must have caused an accident, and the accident must have caused your injuries.
TYPES OF PREMISES LIABILITY
The most common types of premises liability include but are not limited to:
- Negligent maintenance: A property owner, including municipalities, businesses and private individuals, must maintain their properties if they invite you to the property. Property owners must keep land, balconies, walkways, porches and decks, stairways/steps, and even parking lot lighting maintained and in good working condition. If the property owner cannot make repairs immediately, the owner must warn people of the danger or hazard.
- Animal attacks: The most common animal attacks are by dogs, though it could be any animal. A property owner is responsible for keeping his or her animals contained – either behind a fence or leashed. A dog bite could also happen at a dog park or anywhere people can bring dogs.
- Trip or slip and fall accidents: Trips or slip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability accidents. People could slip or trip on wet floors, carpets, throw rugs, uneven walkways, broken steps, and more. In some cases, people suffer minor injuries in a slip and fall, but many suffer more severe injuries, including broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
- Swimming pool accidents: You might have a pool or enjoy a friend’s pool or a pool in a public place. You expect to be safe when using a pool; however, you could sustain injuries because of uncovered filters, slippery deck surfaces and sharp edges. Or, a family member could have a drowning accident, especially if a neighbor has a child-attractive pool that does not have a fence or a locked gate.
The Exceptions to Premises Liability
In many cases, a property owner is not liable for injuries if you trip or slip and fall. Open and obvious hazards, such as purple grape juice spilled on a light-colored tile floor in a grocery store, is one such example. The hazard has to be open and obvious for it not to be considered a hazard.
Some activity properties, such as drag racing or ATV trails, might have insurance waivers that do not allow you to recover compensation if you sustain injuries on the property. If you are ever injured because of a slip and fall when the hazard was obvious, or if the statutes exclude a certain type of property, contact premises liability attorneys in Odessa for a free case evaluation.
TYPES OF INJURIES CAUSED BY PREMISES LIABILITY ACCIDENTS
In some cases, premises liability accidents could cause nothing but minor bumps and bruises, or they could cause more serious injuries. If you believe your injuries are minor, seek medical attention anyway to ensure that you do not have hidden injuries. Some types of injuries you might sustain include:
- Cuts, scratches, scrapes, bruises, and bumps
- Strains, sprains, pulled and torn muscles, and other soft tissue injuries
- Simple and compound fractures
- Face and eye injuries
- Head, neck and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Internal injuries
- Crushed bones
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a premises liability accident, a premises liability law firm in Odessa can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Texas allows for two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include economic damages and non-economic damages. The court orders compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again.
The court only orders punitive damages as a punishment for a defendant’s grossly negligent or intentional actions or inactions. While it does take extra steps to obtain punitive damages, in some cases, it is worth it when the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious.
Contact Premises Liability Attorneys In Odessa
Premises liability cases are often difficult. We recommend that you contact an Odessa premises liability attorney to help you recover damages. Whether you settle or litigate depends on whether the insurance company offers a fair and reasonable settlement. We always do everything possible to settle, but sometimes we have to go to court to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a premises liability accident, contact an Odessa premises liability attorney at Hanna Personal Injury Law by calling (432) 220-2649 today.
Who can I take legal action against in a premises liability case?
An Odessa premises liability lawyer can help determine the proper person to sue. In most cases, you would sue the owner of the property. However, in some cases, a renter could share responsibility for your injuries.
How do I prove negligence for a premises liability lawsuit?
To have a valid premises liability lawsuit, you need to show: That the property owner owed a duty of care That the property owner breached that duty of care by having a known hazard or danger on the property and did not warn you of the danger or hazard That the hazard or defect caused your injuries and other damages That you suffered financial and other damages from your injuries.
What do I do if the property owner’s insurance company offers me a settlement?
Do not accept the settlement until an Odessa premises liability lawyer reviews it and your case. Chances are that if the insurance company offered you a settlement, it is much less than what you deserve.
Do I have a premises liability case if a drunk driver hits me?
Texas has a dram shop law, which means that you can hold an establishment liable under certain circumstances. An Odessa premises liability lawyer can help you determine whether you should recover compensation because an establishment served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person.
I suffered injuries when someone attacked me in a dark parking lot during business hours. Can I sue for my injuries?
Possibly. It is up to the property owner to ensure a property is safe against all hazards, including criminals. If the area you were attacked in is normally lighted and wasn’t at the time, it opens an opportunity for muggers and thieves to take advantage of customers. If the property owner knew the light was out and did not repair it, he might be responsible for your injuries.
What do I do if I can’t afford an Odessa premises liability lawyer?
Your initial case evaluation is free. If you decide to retain an Odessa premises liability lawyer at Hanna Personal Injury Law, you do not pay lawyers’ fees unless we win your case. During the initial case evaluation, we will go over our contingency agreement with you.